May 10, 2010 (Sacramento) – By a unanimous vote and with broad bipartisan support, the Senate Committee on Education passed legislation on April 21 to ensure that California textbooks will not contain changes made in Texas. In March, the Texas State Board of Education approved extreme right-wing curriculum changes. Due to the number of public school students in the state, textbook manufacturers are expected to make changes that could drastically influence textbooks throughout the country.
Examples of the changes being pushed include downplaying the contributions of Thomas Jefferson, Thurgood Marshall and Cesar Chavez while praising right-wing heroes like Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich and even Senator Joseph McCarthy. Texas textbooks will also be reducing the scope of Latino history, emphasizing historical figures guided by “strict Christian beliefs,” replacing “capitalism” with “free market,” and labeling civil rights programs that protect women and minorities as having adverse “unintended consequences.”
Other changes to Texas schoolbooks include emphasizing “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s” including favorable mentions of the Eagle Forum, Moral Majority, Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association and New Gingrich’s Contract With America, more positive portrayal of Cold War anticommunism, removal of third-party presidential candidates, labeling Confederate General Stonewall Jackson as a role model for effective leadership, adding a statement from Confederate President Jefferson Davis to accompany a statement from President Abraham Lincoln, and including country and western music among nation’s important cultural movements while dropping hip-hop from the list.
SB 1451, authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), will require State Board of Education to review all California social studies textbooks to ensure that they have not been changed as a result of textbook alterations in Texas.
“While some Texas politicians may want to set their educational standards back 50 years, California should not be subject to their backward curriculum changes,” said Yee. “The alterations and fallacies made by these extremist conservatives are offensive to our communities and inaccurate of our nation’s diverse history. Today, California spoke with a bipartisan voice that our kids should be provided an education based on facts and that embraces our multicultural nation,” said Yee. “These curriculum changes are completely unacceptable,” he added. “Our children deserve better.”
SB 1451 will next be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee.